There’s nothing like a toddler to reveal things about yourself you’d rather keep hidden.
When my son was about a year and a half, I got a parking ticket.
It was a Laguna Beach, California parking ticket.
Understand, the police in Laguna specialize in parking like the DEA specializes in drug enforcement. They are the Colombo’s of meter crime.
This ticket was tremendously generous, to the city not to me. It was also unfair.
I was ticketed for parking in my own driveway, if you can believe that. Apparently one tire had deflated enough for an inch of tread to spread out onto the city street.
I pitched a fit.
I slammed cupboard doors, closet doors, threw things around and swore like a freshman.
At the time, I nurtured a secret pride in my temper. Spunky women aren’t weak women. They are the ones who get the guy in the romantic comedies. (After all the havoc they cause is cleaned up.) Besides, I believed it was written in my genetic code. My grandpa was a red-head.
Be honest, you have your favorite trespasses, your pet impieties, your fair-haired deviltries.
We all do. I now call them B.S., or besetting sins. But, at the time I called them my personality or predilection. One thing I absolutely didn’t do was take responsibility for them.
After I calmed down, I got busy with a household chore. Soon I heard strange noises coming from my child’s toy alcove off the living room. I stole quietly over hoping to catch him in some adorable act I could tell the grandparents about.
His chubby little arms flung stuffed animals against the walls. His tiny shoes kicked down piles of ABC blocks. But, the most horrifying thing was the language. He didn’t speak yet, but the sounds he was making were too close for comfort. I feared I would have to wait until he was 18 to tell him what his first word was.
This story is funny now, but it wasn’t at the time. It was shameful. I’d had my own B.S. enacted before me in living color and it stunk. There was no more denying it. It was time to start shoveling.
Wrath is a particularly nasty member of The 7 Deadly Sins club.
The wrathful are punished in the 5th circle of hell. They must battle there for eternity in the murky, muddy, swamp waters of the River Styx. The metaphor is apt. Wrath clouds our vision, impedes productivity, and makes a mess. So, what can we do about it?
How do you get over your own B.S.?
I hesitate to simplify this process, because it is anything but simple. It can take years to change a fully entrenched behavior pattern. However the internet craves 5 Simple Steps To… so, here I go.
Step 1: Recognize it
Pretending you don’t have any B.S. is a sure fire way to keep you in it up to your eyeballs. You may not have a toddler to do an instant replay, but I’m sure your spouse could give you an earful. If your life isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, you’re not perfect. What attitudes or behaviors could be hurting you?
Step 2: Get out the shovel
Your B.S. messes up other people’s lives as well as your own. Your family, your co-workers, your friends have likely all had things thrown at them they would be better off without. It’s your job to clean it up. I had to gather up my little guy, hug him, and say, “Mommy’s sorry.” Even though he didn’t understand the words, he got the idea.
Step 3: Clear the air
Get control of the methane. You have to stop the behavior. I had to work very hard at controlling my temper. I wasn’t always successful. I have had to say, “Mommy’s sorry,” plenty of times. However, it did get easier and easier as time went on. Now, I’m a pretty even-keeled person.
Step 4: Create Bioenergy
There is a difference between wrath–extreme, vengeful rage–and justified anger. The fit was wrong, but I was correct to be angry. I eventually did something right. I turned some of that manure into biofuel. I contested the ticket in court. Let your anger fuel positive action.
Step 5: Dismiss the case
When the judge saw all the poster boards I’d meticulously drawn of the crime scene, he rolled his eyes, banged his gavel and said, “Case dismissed.” I never had to pay the ticket. When it’s over it’s over. You can’t keep beating yourself up for your mistakes.
I hope my story helps some of you and I wish you’d share your wrathful struggles. It’s just you and me here. I won’t tell anyone, promise. Comment below
If you’d like to read all of the articles in my 7 Deadly Sins series click here.
block picture courtesy of digitalart/freedigitalphotos.net